I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they
thought it was hell.
- Harry S. Truman
Todd Gurley's fantasy point totals have
fallen every week since his high (28.3 FPts) in Week 7.
1) St. Louis running back Todd Gurley
has hit the “rookie wall.”
From Week 4-8, Gurley appeared to be the best running back in the
league (566 rushing yards, 3 TDs). He’s still getting into
the end zone, but Gurley has been held to just 219 yards over the
last four games as defenses dare the Rams to throw the ball with
Nick Foles or Case Keenum. Gurley missed the end of his junior season
at Georgia and all of training camp due to a knee injury so it’s
probably too much, too soon, to ask him to be ready to carry a team
on his back for 12 games. It won’t get much better in Week
13 as Gurley and the Rams face the tough Arizona Cardinals defense.
2) Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown
lit up an inept Baltimore pass defense for 669 yards and three touchdowns
in less than eight quarters this season.
The Ravens defense looks even worse when you consider only starting
quarterbacks and not games Baltimore played against backups Michael
Vick and Case
Keenum. When facing a “starting” NFL quarterback, the Ravens
are yielding 26.2 FPts/G. That’s approaching New Orleans Saints
Tannehill is next up for Baltimore and should be a solid option.
The Ravens will face Russell
Smith and Ben
Roethlisberger in the fantasy playoffs and all three should
be must starts.
3) In contrast to the Ravens, the Minnesota
Vikings defense, the worst defense in the league as recently as
2013 (30 ppg), is currently yielding just 17.6 ppg.
The Vikings are ranked as one of the top-10 stingiest to opposing
quarterbacks (3rd), running backs (7th) and receivers (10th). Even
more surprising is that fantasy owners have yet to catch on and
they are owned in about 35 percent of all leagues. When setting
a starting lineup, avoid playing against this defense.
4) Philip Rivers is having one of his
best seasons despite the Chargers' ugly won-loss record.
Unfortunately, Rivers can’t control the defense (27.9 ppg)
or injuries across his offensive line. What he has been able to
do is adapt to the situation and he’s ranked as the No. 4
fantasy quarterback (24.5 FPts/G). He’s first in completion
percentage (68.5) and second in passing yards (3,511) despite an
offensive line down to just two starters. Not bad for the 12th quarterback
off the board on Draft Day. On Sunday, Rivers became the 17th quarterback
all-time to crack the 40,000-yard passing mark.
5) Despite a big question mark at quarterback
heading into the season, the New York Jets have two Top-12 fantasy
True. Brandon Marshall (147.1 FPts) and Eric Decker (118) rank fifth
and 11th, respectively. Together, the two starters have combined
for 51 percent of the team’s receptions. Marshall and Decker
have been able to produce because quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has
been a pleasant surprise with 20 touchdown passes through 11 games
and because the Jets have very few receiving options behind them.
Running backs Bilal Powell (22) and Chris Ivory (19) have more catches
than No. 3 receiver Jeremy Kerley.
When the world has got hold of a lie, it is astonishing how
hard it is to kill it. You beat it over the head, till it seems
to have given up the ghost, and behold! The next day it is as healthy
- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
1) Fully-inflated footballs will kill
Tom Brady’s effectiveness.
Obviously laughable. Brady leads all quarterbacks in fantasy scoring
at 27.9 FPts/G. Actually, Brady’s production HAS fallen over the
past four games (23.1), but it’s due to significant losses of receiving
Lewis in Week 9 (36 receptions), Julian
Edelman in Week 10 (61) and Danny
Amendola in Week 11 (49). He’s also likely to be without Rob
Gronkowski for a “few weeks” due to a knee injury suffered late
in Week 12, so Brady’s fantasy value likely has a limited upside
for the next few games.
2) Martavis Bryant leads the league
in FPts/G so he must be the league’s best receiver.
To be sure, Bryant is a superior talent who has scored 13 touchdowns
in 16 games over his first two seasons, but he benefits from defenses
keying on Antonio Brown. If I was starting a team I’d certainly
choose DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.
among others before Bryant. Bryant’s situation reminds me
of Alshon Jeffery last season when he had Marshall on the opposite
side of the field. Notice how Jeffery is struggling with Marshall
in New York?
3) Doug Martin’s fantasy value can only
improve now that he doesn’t have any competition for the starting
False. Martin is the “next” Jonathan Stewart. That’s
not the end of the world, but both running backs have a limited
upside because of a quarterback who is going to steal goal line
rushing attempts. Stewart has Cam Newton under center, who has scored
seven times this season, six of them from inside the 5-yard line.
Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Jameis Winston has scored four rushing
touchdowns, three times inside the 5-yard line. If you want to be
the No. 1 fantasy running back, you can’t play with a running
4) Cleveland tight end Gary Barnidge,
currently third at the position, should continue to produce into
the fantasy playoffs.
Only if Josh
McCownwere the starting quarterback. Unfortunately, McCown suffered
a broken right collarbone Monday night. In Johnny
Manziel’s three starts, Barnidge is averaging just 5.9 FPts/G
versus 12.5 with McCown.
5) Peyton Manning will automatically
get his starting job back when healthy.
It’s always traumatic when a Hall of Fame player reaches the
end of the line and Manning’s level of play this season hasn’t
been anywhere near what we have come to expect. The Broncos have
rushed for their two highest totals with Brock Osweiler as the starter
and head coach Gary Kubiak can run the offense he wants with the
25-year-old under center. Denver was producing 3.77 ypc with Manning
and that number has jumped to 5.13 ypc behind Osweiler. Sorry Manning
owners, but unless Osweiler completely self-destructs, Manning won’t
be of any value in the fantasy playoffs.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.